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Volunteer of the Month: Kari O’Neill

Thank you, Kari, and all Connections volunteer writers!

This month we honor Kari O’Neill of Ask Kari fame in Connections News. Kari exemplifies the dedication our Connections volunteer writers demonstrate month in, month out. Our community paper would be nothing without them! Kari is the longest running volunteer writer on the team!

Kari came to us almost three years ago now with two fantastic ways she could contribute to the community. One was to host a screening of Advance Directives: Consider the Conversation. Kari understood that our community had many in the Sandwich Generation who faced difficult issues as their parents aged. She also conceived of the idea for the first ever ‘advice column’ for Connections. As a licensed clinical social worker, Kari knew first-hand the troubles people need help with and that many of these troubles lurk even in the most comfortable communities.  Ask Kari was born, providing a forum for us and our neighbors to write to Kari about our challenges, or to learn from others.

Kari’s dedication to the community, while very commendable, is thankfully not uncommon. At any given time we have approximately a dozen volunteer writers providing the stories and articles you enjoy each month. Tami Curtis was another tenured volunteer, writing Wit and Tidbits for over two years. Aadit-IH Sportshound-Desai Mehta came to us a couple years ago with the idea of bringing to our readers a sports column. Marty and Molly Fisher were recruited (by yours truly) at a neighbor’s dinner party. (Beware; no writers are safe!) Sarah Lally Brown was interviewed for Resident Profile for her unique qualities (she’s a race car driver!), discovered when she applied for her community garden plot. She recognized the value of Connections’ stories and eagerly accepted our request that she write a monthly column about community gardening. Shelly Hawkins began as a gardener-writer and worked into a hiker-writer, all the while applying her professional skills as a copy editor. Carolyn Kennedy took over the vital, School Spotlight section from veteran contributor Leslie Warrick. Josh Zhanson approached us with a need to earn volunteer hours for school. Regardless the motive, they all contribute unique, high-quality columns for your information and entertainment. I have only named a few of our writers. Make a point to recognize the by-line next time you particularly enjoy a story. They may be your neighbor!

September is a great month to honor Kari and the other Connections writers. That’s when I throw a party for them I call the “Writers Reception”. Unlike other volunteers, these rarely see another soul in the line of their volunteering. They just squirrel themselves away and write. This event gives them a chance to put a face to the columns they enjoy. This year’s will be Sunday, September 13th at 5:00- 7:00pm at Blakely Hall. All our volunteer writers are welcome to attend.

We find your writers in a variety of ways, and some find us. Kari found us. We are eternally grateful for it.

Thank you, Kari!

By Nina Milligan, Connections Editor

Connections Covers June_Sept 2015